tv International Peace Discussion CSPAN July 27, 2013 10:35pm-11:31pm EDT
bipartisan compromise bill to address the doubling of student loan interest rates. the latest version was approved by the senate on wednesday. the senate returns on monday and will resume work on their tosion of a bill to send transportation. the senate will debate the nomination of james comey. monday.s expected on the senate will consider nominations to the national labour relations board. you can watch the on c-span and the senate on c-span 2. >> on the next "washington journal" we will hear from gail haddock with a preview of the week ahead in congress. fordetroit filing
bankruptcy. guest.ben is our and the brookings institution joins us to talk about the obama administration's plan. liveington journal" airs every morning at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span. this past week, jimmy carter took part in the discussion regarding the isreali- palestinian conference. -palestinian officials average an agreement for resuming peace talks. a group of world leaders have been brought together by the former south african president nelson mandela to work on peace and human rights. this is just under an hour.
>> good afternoon. thank you all for coming. we are honored to have with us so many distinguished members of the club, even though the elders club has been formed six years ago by president mandela of south africa, this is the first public event for the club and we are very honored it takes place in washington. of course, we have with us
president carter. i do not need to go through the introduction. and the u.n. envoy to syria. president ahtisaari is also -- a nobel laureate. future hopes to be a nobel laureate. [laughter] this event could not have been more opportune given the announcement friday the delegation is visiting washington at the start of this planned engagement. members will explore how they
can be helpful. from washington, they would go directly to london meeting with -- meetings in beijing and paris will follow. today, they held talks with secretary kerry and susan rice, mainly on the middle east and why they are not in a position to tell us what they told them, exactly. we would be hearing from them about matters regarding the peace process and what needs to be done. i thought i would ask of your impression of where matters stand. what can we expect from the latest initiative of carries and the upcoming negotiations and
people are still skeptical whether negotiations will need to break through or whether we will see another endless process. you have been a peace negotiator who has been able to bring the two sides together. what can you tell us about the latest round in what can we look for that might offer us more hope? >> thank you first of all for letting us come and thank you for coming to be with us. i think it is accurate to say the elders have taken upon ourselves the responsibility of probing -- probing for progress in the middle east. this is one of the primary charges we got. visits to the middle east, to
israel, west bank, and gaza. as well as to jordan, lebanon, and egypt. we have been able to keep in close contact with all those countries and leaders as best we can. on my left, he has been responsible for the peace process in syria. before that, the now chair, was the convoy for peace in syria. in many ways, the elders remained quite deeply involved in the struggle for peace. we have a few characteristics. none of us are involved in politics directly. many people have described us as has been politicians.
one of our requisites for membership is that we do not hold any public office. one of our members stepped down when she was elected to the parliament. that was -- we meet with him, we wewe meet with whom choose, and we say what we really believe and we are not constrained by whether or not we will be reelected or put it is positions of authority. that has given us a chance to meet regularly, as we wish, with the leadership in hamas. we also go to north korea to bring some relationships with north korea. we go where we with -- wish. we have an insight we always share at the end of our sessions with leaders directly involved and who still hold public off
this -- office. a personal report is always send very soon after we get back from the trip, in which i am involved from the elders. all of the elders have our own organizations to pursue. mayor robertson is one of the groups. she is the commissioner on human rights. she has been given a choice by the united nations to deal with the great lakes region, which includes rwanda and the congo and also uganda. she is working on that. she is with us today. she had to leave to go to another meeting. they would be with us today but they have been in russia meeting with the foreign minister to meet and talk about some of the same subjects.
our next visit to the members of the security council, that would be going to moscow. that is what we do in general. we have seen with great pleasure and excitement the intense efforts john kerry has made to recommence the peace process in the middle east after five years of a wreck we essence date. no one has known exactly what he is doing because his mission has been very quiet. we also know from the news media, i am not quoting anything john kerry has told us, but we have known netanyahu has a coalition in israel that is heavily dependent on extreme, white -- right wing groups, but one state that controls all of the area, he is quite dependent in his government for their support.
that opens up a very good chance that we should include a peace agreement based on anything concerning settlements. forming a new coalition is a possibility. on the other hand, the head of the plo has very low support, politically speaking, from his own people, and certainly not from hamas, who are now concentrated their in gaza. both leaders are in adversarial worlds in the holy land and are seriously constrained by their own constituency. if and when they come to the peace talks, they will have shown a great deal of courage, politically and personally, in bringing about this chance they
might be embarrassed later when they have to make some concessions. we have very much been impressed about the massive effort being made, not just to bring them to the peace table, but also trying to correct some of the devastating blows done against the palestinian community economically. there are so many things that can be done, in palestine, to abbreviate, to improve and make sure they have some insurance. so they can at least survive and have an economic life of their own. this is what has been going on so far. we also met with a ceo this morning and he explained what he thought were some of the attitudes of the american jewish community. i believe from my own experience that if and when progress is
being made, which will happen, a solution with an independent and free and safe israel living next-door to a palestinian palestinian state, that they would have support not only on a worldwide basis. america. i think we will reserve my time related to any questions you specifically might have. thank you for giving me this chance. >> thank you, mr. president. i would like to turn down -- turn now to give us an update of these negotiations in an extremely difficult problem. >> it is a pleasure and an honor to be here and to see many friends, very distinguished
people. it is always a pleasure for me. i am sure everybody here is familiar with the situation in syria. i don't need to hide the depressing numbers that characterized the situation. 100,000 dead. 2 million at least, maybe three, maybe four, maybe five. the destruction you will see on your screen every night. that makes cities in syria look like pictures of berlin, 1945. to say that the situation is bad would be an understatement. the situation is bad and getting
worse. it has been getting worse for two years now. the important thing to mention here is that, at long last, the russians and the americans have gotten together and a little bit of what they have said is what i've just told you. it is extremely dangerous, not only for the city, but also for the region. we americans and russians believe -- but a political solution is necessary and we americans and russians are going to work together and with others to see this political process happen. we saluted this development with a great deal of hope when it happened on the seventh of may
of this year. and secretary kerry have met several times with him since and they will meet again in a couple of weeks. the united nations has met with both of them. we have met with russia twice. we will try to see what are the conditions necessary to bring about that would make an international conference, a u.n. conference on syria with good success. i do not think we have those
conditions already there. but i think everybody is working to get those conditions. the elements are there. they have been there for exactly one year. one year and a few weeks. on the 30th of june this last year, there was a conference organized thanks to my predecessor. and the results of that conference was a detailed sketch of what the solution of -- for serious should be. -- for syria should be.
the idea now is to organize another conference that is referred to -- this time, we hope there will be, we hope there must be, delegations, because geneva has said what is needed is to bring the syrian regime together so they can put together a plan and a process to implement the decision. this is what we are trying to, these are the conditions we are trying to make -- create. we are just discussing directly or indirectly with the government of syria and damascus. with the neighbors of syria, because i think it is not a secret it is dangerously
mutating into a regional conflict. ask the jordanians and they will tell you there are two countries i do not know what word to use. they are sinking under the weight. i think you have one million, more than one million in georgia. -- jordan. someone was telling me the other day the second city of importance in the country is now inhabited by almost -- 50% of its inhabitants are serious. -- syrian. if you remember the few refugees
who went to italy from olivia two years ago, the whole world was up in arms. about 20,000 people. having already more than one million refugees, and, i think it is more or less, every day, and it is still continuing up to 6000 refugees. a little bit elsewhere. so, the situation, once again, it is extremely bad. the country is being destroyed. i was heavily criticized by both sides a few months ago when i said, what they are doing is cooperating to destroy their country.
therefore, the plea addressed to both the opposition and the government is to show some kindness. to let people into their country and also to their history i am sure there are many of you who know syria who know how rich a country this is. now, in hollis, there is a church that goes back to the year 67. it has been destroyed. there is a mosque that has also been destroyed. the mosque has been destroyed. the market has been burned. of course, in situations like this, you have a lot of habitats
stolen and taken out of the country. it is not only the present and the future of syria under threat. it is also the past. our family history, really, is being destroyed. >> how hopeful are we that a solution will be found? >> we are very hopeful. there is no other way but to hope and to work but it will not be easy. >> thank you very much. >> i thought we could ask you about the linkages between syria and palestine, including the
[laughter] >> i met the representative because the american and chinese capitals -- i must say, while i was there, it was there to take up the special invoice task. i was extremely disappointed the members were so engaged and were starting to talk. they are permanent members and i am an old u.n. hand, as many of you know.
i always say permanent members have an important and responsible task. they have more responsibility than ordinary members. from my talks with the permanent members, i did not feel it would have been important. without going any further, -- what has happened and how the situation has deteriorated. but today, i am much more optimistic than perhaps a few months earlier. for various reasons. some have nothing to do with the three countries the chairman mentioned.
if i see that the permanent members are getting their acts together on other issues, as well, i mentioned north korea, i mentioned north korea, it is today i see we may have a situation developing where the americans, chinese, can not -- cany cooperate. actually cooperate in the denuclearization. every opening that leaves -- leads to positivity will help in other areas as well. there is now a serious effort starting this week. that is an important element here, as well.
what we hear lately, not only in washington, but in general, that we finally start feeling we -- hearing we should seriously start with political solutions in syria, and not talk about military solutions. i think far too little has been discussed. so, what will happen if one is really serious, we -- start pursuing military options in syria. we also have positive development, as you mentioned, the new president in iraq.-- in iran. it definitely keeps an opening. this is the moment we have to actually talk to everybody. and start the dialogue, not only on the nuclear issues, but
on other issues, as well. therefore, i hope, as i mentioned now, it will take time. but we will finally start looking for political solutions, which i think we should have. i was disappointed because i thought there would have been openings. as a special envoy, the missions in the past, i know how brilliant the special representatives are. if they do not have the main after support, they cannot do it. that is something very important for you to understand. i do not think that [indiscernible]
i mean support that will have actually led to a concrete result. it took a long time before the united states and russia are talking. we hopefully are ending up in geneva, and seeing how we go from there. >> thank you very much. we open it up for questions. there are a lot of people in the room. please make your questions short. we have about 20 minutes of question time. yes, please. >> thank you, mr. president. i am a journalist. i want to ask you, after meeting with secretary kerry today, what gives you hope that this time around, there is a push forward and it is not a
deja vu that harkens back to previous issues. thank you. >> i am not referring to anything the president said.or secretary kerry said. it seems to us, having met with him and having been involved with them for a long time, that this -- it has been almost a five-year absence to bring the two parties together. they bring zest to any sort of -- have been resistant to any sort of move toward a combination. that in itself is a sign. i mentioned earlier, which i need not repeat, how terrible the question is on both of the leaders to not go to the negotiating table, if it involves the most crucial element, and that is portals -- borders. 1967 borders based on lancelot.
-- based on land swaps? that has been the crucial unanswered question for a long time. you know the initiative that began in 2002 has been modified to include the phrase, with lancelot. -- land swaps. netanyahu cannot admit it publicly because he has been promised his to major supporters on the right wing will abandon his government if he does. he will stay mute on the stand. the united states, of course, will be asked by the palestinians to repeat our position, which is long-term, that is 1967 borders, only to be changed with good face -- good faith agreement. that is the key issue. if they can address that in a substantial way, the symbolic
--ght of return will or will will beements resolved. the other thing that is always difficult is jerusalem. that is a very encouraging thing. the other thing that is very important is, with a step down, there has been a negative reaction all over the western world to the possibility of the palestinians having any economic progress. it has been announced in the press that one of the major breakthroughs have been -- has been the israelis and americans and others are also dedicated to helping the palestinians survive, even if the israelis are cutting off their income from customs and so forth. this will put the israelis -- the palestinians back on the basis of being self-supporting during the troublesome time when they might make concessions not popular back home.
i think those two things are the most important, for me. no one knows what will happen. it might be the first time and adjourned. i think there has been pressure from the palestinian people and from the israeli people to have a resolution of the issue. those with whom we meet regularly posing any sort of peace talks, my experience meeting with the leaders is that they are willing to accept a peace agreement negotiated between them if the returns are -- ifted for a referendum. the terms are submitted for a referendum. that can be a major step if the peace terms are concluded at the negotiating table. that is a chance to bring hamas on board, even though they will
not be on board in the interim. that summarizes my reasons for being much more hopeful than i was five years ago. >> what happened to resolution 242? all of a sudden, we do not hear about 242. >> you may remember at camp david, the israelis agreed to abide by 242, the key portion of which is non-acquisition of territory by force. that meant they were going to withdraw from the west bank and all occupied territories. from the camp david accords. by the israelis early has been violated. i think of the 1967 borders do prevail, as we hope for, i think that would in effect under the
basic thrust of 242. the israelis must withdraw from palestinian territories and live in peace side by side with a two state solution. that would take care of 242. it can be modified to some degree. >> a question from the back? president carter, we have a domestic issue receiving international attention. do you think that we have a form of two states and/or apartheid in the united states? [laughter] no, we do not have two states. we have separations between red and blue states. polarization of constituency, brought about by the match and -- massive infusion of money, most of which is spent on negative advertisements. they create divisions among the populations who watch television and the two parties, and it carries over to washington.
the thing about which i'm most concerned is the growing separation in america between the richest americans and the poorest americans. also a basic negative attitude towards people who are different -- one example, and that is that the number of prisoners is 700%ated in america more than it was when i left office. we are now putting people in prison and keeping them there. i think there is a difference in our country, but i have confidence that our country will survive, will overcome this problem, even if it takes a new majority in the supreme court who made the stupid decision on citizens united. i do not think congress is going to change that. if we see a more enlightened and wise in judgment supreme court, we will see citizens united reverse and returned back to a more honest for election. -- a more honest election. i do not think we have apartheid
in our country. but we do have some divisions. >> can i say something on that issue? during the last one year, i have read three books. level,"end "the spirit by wilkinson. it is good for everybody. "price of any quality." -- inequality." nowadays when i speak in my own country, i say we do not need rogue capitalism. we do not need any sort of socialism. we need responsible market economics. it is a nordic country. i hope some of you read "economies" a few months ago, and one subtitle said, if you
want to experience the american dream, go to sweden. they could have mentioned any of us in the nordic countries. [laughter] i have a couple of questions for mr. brahami. can you explain what is the holdup on geneva. is it russia and the u.s. disagreeing on the invite list, or is it the u.s. trying to help shift the balance on the ground to favor the opposition? do you envision any solution to syria with president assad staying in power? >> that's uneasy question? -- an easy question? [laughter] what is holding up the conference is frankly the opposition is divided. that is not secret.
they are trying to get their act to aher, work their way truly representative delegation to represent the opposition in the conference. that is one of the problems. , i think it isbt fair to say, the russians and americans have gone a long way to where they are now. it is really great that they are saying things like i said a , there is no military , there can be and must be a political solution. i think they are still working there differences -- their
differences amongst themselves and they are talking to us. i think we are moving forward a little bit. the opposition is working its think when weut i get there, it is not time wasted. there are some differences about who should attend these conferences -- the peace conference. these are the problems that are holding up the conference. at the 30th of june, 2012, the geneva declaration, you will see a very detailed agenda to get from where we are
now in syria to what i call the new republic in syria. one of the things that i clearly gettings the idea of these two delegations together is that they will agree on the creation of what is called in i, the governing body, with full executive power. i think this is very clear. you're going to have an executive body. forh is really another name a transitional government. ist transitional government going to have full executive power. country, andthe when the time comes for an election to take place -- there are a lot of levels in the
details. i did not speak about president assad in one way or the other, but i think that will lead to a new syria. i have been saying all along -- this is not been popular with a forof people -- the time change in syria -- in syria in the region has passed. changeare demanding real , transformational steps and ideas, and serious no exception. exception. no >> i have a follow-up on syria. in washington is
that assad is within grade if you look at the situation -- is winning. at the situation, it looks like he is making progress on the ground. how do you see it going to a process in geneva to have conditions that will undermine his authoritarian government? is, there hastion been no resolution. 100,000 people have been killed. [indiscernible] when i briefed the security council in november, people were extremely critical of me because i refuse to say that the
opposition was winning and the regime was in its last few days. most people in november of last year were convinced that the regime had lost, and that the opposition was winning, and that it was a question of months, perhaps weeks. i think that was not correct. now you have a lot of people who say that the government is winning. the regime is winning. the regime is doing much better than it did in november of last year, but it is true, they are making progress. in situations like this, making progress in winning are two different things. at qusayr, how long it took
them to regain a ghost town. there were about 500 people there. it took them weeks and weeks before they took it back. the two or three tiny little parts of homs that are in the hands of the opposition, i think there are 2500 people there. it has now been 4, 5, 6 weeks. they haven't gotten anywhere. they are doing well for the moment. they are not doing well everywhere. that is why i and a lot of other people, including now the united states of america and the russian federation, we say, there is no military victory for anybody. there is a lot of destruction.
one day it is the opposition that has the upper hand, and the next it is the government. the war is going on. you need to get out of this vicious circle to a clinical process that can and this -- end this conflict. >> > perhaps we can take three r four questions at a time. >> can i say one aspect? i do not want to counter my real expert. the the fighting goes on in conflict for such a long time, as we have seen in syria, it becomes really difficult for those who have been opposing the sitting government to accept that they should organize the elections. interim ore the transitional government, it is extremely complicated, as we have seen in many situations.
i hope one does not give up entirely the possibility, if it can be used -- and it cannot always be used -- ask the u.n. to organize the elections. is u.n. is capable -- capable of doing that could -- t hat. it should be monitored properly. i haven't seen an election yet where they would not be involved. i want to complement president carter. [laughter] >> we will not get involved in the united states' election. the u.s. doesn't qualify. [laughter] >> good evening, gentlemen.
think you for being here. i have a quick question for mr. brahimi. i am from aleppo. i was born and raised there. like many people here, i have been following the conflict closely and your work closely good you mention that the issue with geneva ii is the members who will or will not come to the table. by some miracle convince everybody to get along and come to the table, who would you think would be a crucial member at the table? if the transitional government is created, how do you convince the people on the ground who have a problem communicating with the outside world that these are their legitimate representatives? president carter, you have been a strong advocate of a peaceful solution in palestine-israel for years. i was wondering, is it any easier today than it was when you are president? [laughter] questiontake one more
in the back somewhere. yes, please. the gentleman with the glasses. >> president carter, i would , my sense from speaking with palestinian civic leaders is that there is a lot of resistance not to things that have been understood in the past -- for example, an extended israeli military presence in the jordan valley, a demilitarized an only tokenate, return of refugees. there is more resistance among the palestinian people than the was years ago. do you think that is true, and if so, you think that will be too big an obstacle to overcome, especially in light of the hamas demand for public referendum? >> i do not think it is these are not than it was when i was there, but you have to remember
that when i became president, there was no demand on me to be engaged in peace talks. been for terrible wars during the previous 25 years. might be the end of any possibility for peace talks. and otherat sadat leaders were strong enough and courageous enough to reach an agreement. we proceeded to make an effort. i think what john kerry faces now is maybe even more formidable than it was back in those days. i cannot say that for sure, but it is hard to judge because both times were very difficult. the key issue is whether the palestinian people and israeli to saywant peace enough to their leaders, let's make some compromises for peace. as far as the palestinians are
concerned, the jordan river for was never mentioned =-- river valley was never mentioned as part of israel until bill clinton came to office. i never dreamed when i was negotiating back in earlier times that israel would control the jordan valley. it --icipated that if that it would withdraw from all of palestine, from east jerusalem, gaza, and the west bank, east of the 1967 borders. i'm not sure that the palestinians will ever accept israel controlling the jordan river valley as well as a major portion of the rest of the west bank. what they are talking about now is some land swaps. that has been a very interesting thing. i met with one of the most conservative leaders that israel has ever had.
he pointed out a land swap that i thought was intriguing, that the audience might find interesting, which is that the palestinians will grant israel to major settlements around jerusalem, and an equal acreage of land would be granted to the palestinians to form a land corridor between gaza and the west bank, which is about 36 miles. on that land corridor, would be built a railroad and highway, whose security would be garrity by israel, but it would be owned and operated by the palestinians. that looks like the wonderful future possibility that might occur. think the things you mentioned are quite effective grade you mentioned the right of return -- i do not think there is going to be any amount of refugee returning to israel, except a very few families that israel doesn't,nt, pencil or
-- a handful or dozen. i think the return might be in the west bank or gaza. those are the three things that you mentioned. they are all difficult. i think the referendum is good because netanyahu said he will not agree to anything, even in this latest proposal, unless he submits it to the israeli people to approve and referendum. that is exactly the same position that hamas has had ever since i have been meeting with them for the past 10-12 years. whatever peace agreement is reached between the plo and israel, they will accept it if the palestinian people in a referendum approve it. that is a good way because eventually if the leaders at the ible except the agreement, believe it almost guarantees that the people back home would accept the same thing. the syrians do not deny the
fact that their society is breaking up, that they are divided in so many ways. the main groups that compose the opposition agree on a political and a representative delegation. i think that the syrian people and also the opposition, they understand it is impossible to represent everybody in a process like this. ino not know of any process any situation of conflict where what was negotiated was fully
accepted by all the people. when we were in afghanistan, when we concluded the meeting, i ,old the afghans who were there you are not fully representative of your people. but you have come to an agreement. you have come to an agreement. ande go back to afghanistan , nobodyt this properly will remember that you are not representative. , then people will say, this agreement was signed geneva, and we have a fairly representative delegation -- there will be a hell of a lot of work to do, but
it may work. >> anything you would like to say further? i am afraid that is all the time we have. let me first say a few words. you are all invited to a reception which will take place on the first floor, on the ground floor. all our guests will have media interviews for 10 minutes. after that, they will join the reception. one,ld like to ask you to remain seated until they are able to leave the room and go to the interview, and i hope you join me in thanking what has been truly a great panel. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]